Walnut Grove’s James Woods and Mouat’s Gershaun Sarowa during Fraser Valley 4A quarter-final action at WGSS. Both teams are bound for provincials next week. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Gators rebound, qualify for provincials

Walnut Grove shakes off devastating loss to win three straight, earn right to defend B.C.. title

Losing is never easy. But losing after being up 15 points on a last-second, three-pointer at the buzzer? That has the potential to be devastating.

And that is what happened to the Walnut Grove Gators in the Fraser Valley quarter-finals, as the No. 3 seed team lost to the No. 6 W.J. Mouat Hawks back on Feb. 19.

“It was disheartening,” admitted Walnut Grove coach Reid Taylor. “We played really well for the first 25 minutes of that game and then we started to fizzle out in the end.

“A lot of it came down to bad shot selection (and) we were getting out-rebounded like crazy, which can happen quite often to us.”

He was referring to the fact no Gator is over six-foot-three.

And while a loss such as that could have derailed Walnut Grove, it didn’t.

For one thing, they lost to a good opponent. This was the fifth meeting between the two highly-ranked teams with Mouat now holding a 3-2 edge. The Hawks may have been the sixth seed, but after knocking off the No. 3 Gators, they beat No. 2 Semiahmoo by eight and took No. 1 Tamanawis to overtime before losing by two.

Taylor said he didn’t have to give his team any sort of special pep talk before their next game.

“There really wasn’t much to say,” Taylor said. “It is pretty devastating in a lot of ways but we knew we could still qualify for provincials if we did what we needed to do.”

And that is exactly what the Gators did.

Facing a must-win game to stay alive, Walnut Grove responded two nights later with a 110-72 win over Guildford Park. They followed that up with a 111-102 win over Pinetree to guarantee themselves a spot at the upcoming B.C. 4A provincial championships, which run March 7 to 10 at the Langley Events Centre.

The Gators would finish fifth in the Fraser Valley thanks to a 64-62 win over Terry Fox on Feb. 25.

James Woods — who earned most valuable player honours in 2017 in helping the Gators win the provincial crown — was named to the Fraser Valley all-star team.

The seedings for the provincial championships will be released on Sunday (March 4) ahead of next week’s championships.

And sometimes a loss at the right time can serve a greater purpose.

“You never want to lose, but like we tell them, if you respond to it correctly, it can be a great learning experience,” Taylor said. “It is super cliche and corny, but if you respond and learn from what you did wrong, you are going to be better off for it.”



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Walnut Grove’s James Woods was named a Fraser Valley first team all-star. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Just Posted

Stealth finish winless at Langley Events Centre

Vancouver pro lacrosse team finishes with 0-9 home record

VIDEO: After the trees fell, Hunter Park reopens in Langley City

The rebuilding of the park “has turned disaster into triumph,” mayor says

VIDEO: Two Langley City councillors to run for mayor

Val van den Broek and Paul Albrecht confirm their candidacies

VIDEO: Rollover crash in Langley’s Walnut Grove neighbourhood

No serious injuries reported in Friday night crash

LCS students stage slapstick version of ‘Macbeth’

Farndale Avenue play runs April 25 to 28 at Langley Christian High School

VIDEO: Largest LEGO exhibition in British Columbia held at River Rock Casino

Hundreds of builders come from around the world to display their LEGO creations

Hockey for Humboldt charity game Friday

Event in Maple Ridge will benefit bus tragedy victims

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

Sunset Beach Park to close for 10 weeks to repair damage from 4-20 event

Vancouver Parks Board said a fence will be placed around the damaged field for ‘major rehabilitation’

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Police probe cause after skateboarder dies in collision with semi-truck

New Westminster police say its not certain whether the skateboarder was in crosswalk or near it

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Most Read